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WAO Playlist Series XIII Curated by Chelse Burns

To coincide with WAO's digital adaptation of Menotti's The Telephone - star Chelsea Burns who plays Lucy has curated this week's playlist. Read about and stream Chelsea's selections which includes arias from some of the most beloved operas including La Traviata, Suor Angelica and Madama Butterfly.

Séguedille from Carmen by Bizet

Carmen was the first opera I ever went to see. I went to watch it with my mum when I lived in Bunbury and I remember being amazed at the singing and the music. I had sung in a lot of choirs and listened to other forms of classical music previously, but it was my first time seeing a professional opera production and I loved it. I was also lucky enough to sing selections of the title character when I attended the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in their production of ‘Carmen in 40 Minutes’ and it just reminded me of how my love for this artform started. As a side note, a few of these selections might make more sense if I mention here that I completed all my training as a mezzo-soprano.

Brindisi from La Traviata by Verdi

While my family and I lived in Bunbury, my mum and I used to sing with a community group called the South West Opera Company. During my time singing with them, the first full opera chorus I sang in was Verdi’s La Traviata. I had so much fun being involved in the production and I remember loving singing in Italian. Although it was not the first opera I had seen, it was the first time I experienced singing in an opera production and it was so exhilarating.

Morgen by Strauss

When I attended the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, it opened my whole perception of classical music. Like many other teenagers, I thought that I wanted to do musical theatre and that my time studying classical music would be short-lived. Little did teenage me know that I would fall absolutely in love with the world of opera and never look back. One of my favourite composers that I discovered during my time there was Richard Strauss and I think that this piece is one of the most beautiful that he ever wrote.

Streams of Pleasure Ever Flowing from Theodora by Handel

In my first year at the RNCM, I was lucky enough to be cast in Handel’s Theodora as the character Didymus. I had had some experience with Handel before, but it was not something that I had sung a lot of. Being involved with this piece was a huge learning experience for me and it really opened my eyes to his sound world. This duet is the final piece sung by Theodora and Didymus before they are executed, and I think it is just the most glorious music. You think that it is going to be an aria sung by Didymus, but it then evolves into this beautiful duet that still makes me cry when I listen to it.

Sein wir wieder gut from Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss

I came across this piece in my second year at the RNCM when my teacher gave it to me. As I mentioned before, I really love Strauss and this piece was no exception. In this piece, the Composer is singing about how music is the greatest of all artforms, which is obviously something that I can relate to. What I loved about this piece was the absolute joy you can feel the character expressing about something they love so much. Of course, those high notes didn’t hurt either!

Un bel dì vedremo from Madama Butterfly by Puccini

When I was studying at the RNCM, one of the programs I was lucky enough to be involved in was a role shadowing scheme linked with Opera North, the opera company in Leeds, UK.  I shadowed the role of Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and it was such an amazing experience. I got to sit in on rehearsals and watch how professionals worked and how the whole product is put together in a professional opera company. I learned so much and absolutely fell in love with the opera during the process.

Donde lieta uscì from La Bohème by Puccini

When I finally moved up to soprano in 2018, this was one of the first pieces that I learned. I had always loved the music from La Bohème but had never sung anything from it as there are no mezzo roles.  I find this aria so beautiful because Mimì has just had her whole world crash around her, but her first thought is to comfort Rodolpho. Puccini captures her pain in the music and your heart just breaks for her in this moment.

 Senza mamma from Suor Angelica by Puccini

To be perfectly honest, I have included this simply because it is one of my all time favourite arias. Her pain at finding out her child has died and singing to them in heaven is so heart wrenching. Suor Angelica is a role that I would love to sing one day, so fingers crossed!

Fields of Gold version by Eva Cassidy

During the process of The Telephone, my beloved ‘fairy godmother’ Auntie Helen passed away. Her funeral was held on one of the days that we were filming, and I sang this for her. I have included it as a way of honouring her so hopefully, you enjoy this beautiful rendition by Eva Cassidy. Sending you all my love Auntie Helen, we miss you very much.

Hello! From The Book of Mormon

I have included this piece as a bit of an homage to my previous musical theatre days as well as The Telephone. During Menotti’s piece Lucy is continuously saying hello as she answers her numerous calls, so I felt that it was fitting. Plus, this always manages to put a smile on my face, and I think that is something everyone needs from time to time.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1FlwRG24rbhB7Wrtzu5csy?si=LXB4Lk2KQSCnqrsuwx-j_g